Whether we’re talking to someone face to face or sending a text to someone a thousand miles away, we regularly use words in our daily lives. Of course, we try to ensure that our messages are clear, but the simple truth is that there are many common words and phrases that we often use incorrectly. Here are a few of the big examples to consider thinking about the next time they come up in conversation.
1. Are You Really Nauseous?
When many of us have a stomachache, we often say that we’re feeling nauseous. However, many lingual purists maintain that you feel nauseated and that nauseous is the word reserved for what is causing you to feel unwell. That duffel bag full of your sweaty gym socks may be nauseous and cause you to feel nauseated when you smell it.
2. You Can’t Drive a Golf Cart
Nearly everyone has the same visual idea when they hear the word “golf cart,” but the funny truth is that it’s not accurate at all. There are distinct differences between a golf cart and a golf car. The easiest way to remember it is that if it has an engine and you can drive it, it’s not a golf cart.
3. Poisonous vs. Venomous
Of all the common words or phrases we often use incorrectly, poisonous and venomous are two that get flipped around the most. Something is poisonous when it makes you sick after you eat it. Venomous refers to something that will make you sick if it bites or stings you. So, you can relax knowing that the snake in your backyard likely isn’t poisonous, and you probably didn’t plan to eat it anyway. However, you may want to check if it’s venomous and stay clear, just in case.
4. A Horrible Travesty
We often say that something that has gone horribly wrong is a travesty, but that’s not entirely accurate. A travesty refers to something that is a poor or inaccurate imitation of a source. Your co-worker’s impression of your boss at the office Christmas party may be a travesty, but it’s a tragedy that your boss was standing behind them when they did it.